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'India, Australia trade relations can improve further'

March 13, 2014 13:13 IST

Australian dollarsTrade relations between India and Australia have been growing steadily and with the ‘right mindsets’ they can be enhanced further, Australian High Commissioner in India, Patrick Suckling has said.

On the agreement of Uranium exports to India from Australia, he said the two countries were working on it and there has been ‘good progress’.

". . . (through this deal) we would just like to be assured that Uranium will be exported to India.

“That is how the frame-work is. Negotiations are currently underway.

“We are making good progress," he said.

Speaking on trade relations at the 24th Annual Day celebrations of Indo-Australian Chamber in Chennai on Wednesday night, Suckling said: "Key challenges do remain for both the countries.

“There is an issue with cost.

“The government is looking at working in terms of reforms.

“There are challenges, including getting the right mindsets. It is a learning process as well. . ."

He said the bilateral trade relations between the two countries have been growing steadily and last year it stood at Australian dollar 17.3 billion, adding that Australian Prime Minister was keen in visiting India this year.

"I know you have the elections.

“Probably once the new government is formed, Prime Minister will come.

“We do have the G20 to be held in November this year.

“We hope the new Indian Prime Minister will attend that meet in Australia. So this year will be a significant year in bilateral relations", Suckling said.

The emphasis has been put on ‘stronger, deeper’ relationships between the two countries, he said.

As of last year, Indian companies have invested about AUD 10 billion, he added. Commenting about the LNG project undertaken by Australia, he said: "It is one of the biggest project.

“That is a major contract. By 2018, Australia will be the biggest LNG gas producer in the world."

On intake of students from India opting to study in Australian universities, he said, “In Australia, India is second in terms of number of students taking up education programmes after China.

In the last quarter, there has been a 25 per cent increase in student intake, which stood at about 50,000, he added.

Image: Australian dollars

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